Mykhailo Kulishov
Horlivka, Donetsk region
How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you? Please tell this story in detail.
In 2014, I was 27 years old. Worked in the IT sphere. From 2009 on, I got interested in the topic of local history and started to work with industrial photography. At the beginning of 2014, a personal blog "Cave shafts and mines of Donbas" was created ( With the beginning of the occupation of Donbas, I was still in the city and thought about how I would soon have to leave it, therefore I tried to take a maximum amount of photos of industrial buildings and panoramic landscapes. At the end of July 2014, due to constant shelling, we left together with my pregnant wife to Berdyansk. There I continued studying and photographing the geological monuments of the Western Azov Region. However, a month later, we were forced to return to Horlivka, where we stayed until January 2015. During this period — since the return to Horlivka in September — it was very difficult: the occupation regime, the complete impossibility of freely doing photography; movement around the city was restricted and it was impossible to get to favorite places at all. Life on the front line, with our house just on the western edge of the city, brought its own constant adjustments. In January 2015, when there was no electricity, water, heating or gas in the city, we left for Bakhmut. To be safe and not under occupation.

"Where were you these 8 years?". How has this time passed for you, what changed
in your life since the events of 2014? What has influenced you the most during this time? Please write in detail.
Arriving in Bakhmut, as soon as we were on the other side of the border, a second wind was found. I found myself in a city, living in which I’ve been thinking about for a very long time, even before the war. But, as always, the fate of a migrant is not very simple. We had to change several apartments until we found something suitable for comfortable living. As for local historic and photography activities, many new projects have appeared and the geography of creative travels has expanded. Since 2018, participation in the "Tourist Lymanshchyna" ( and "Let's travel to Prydintzivya" projects, a specialist-consultant of the CO "CSPA "Kryla", the purpose of which is to promote the development of rural, green and ecological tourism in the Lyman area of the Donetsk region. In 2020, the branded tourist product "The Way Marked by Salt" ( was created. During this period, I have participated in international and all-Ukrainian scientific conferences, and wrote more than 20 scientific works on the history and local history of Donbas, speleology and geotourism. In 2019, awarded a certificate of honor from the Donetsk regional organization of the National Union of Local History of Ukraine for high personal contribution to research and popularization of knowledge on native land. In 2020, the Donetsk regional organization of the National Union of Local Historians of Ukraine recognized me as the "Best Local Historian of the Year".

What was February 24, 2022 for you like? Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin? Where are you now? What do you do? What do you think about your future now?
February 24, 2022 I met in Bakhmut. There was a long premonition of a major war, probably since the winter of 2021. Disturbing news hung in the air. Little by little, everyone started talking about it. But after more than seven years of the constant threat of invasion of this territory, a kind of apathy has developed, apparently we got used to the fact that something terrible can happen to our region and we will have to leave it. And the migrant experience is of great importance when version 2.0 is on. The first month of the full-scale war was spent with the family in Bakhmut. Almost immediately we began to pack things, emergency grab bags were filled up, we even bought tickets to the capital. But the next day we gave up the trip, because it turned out that it was much safer to stay in Bakhmut. But not for long. In April, we moved to Dnipro, then to Kyiv, where we are now.
At the moment, I reside in the city of Brovary, where I am trying to continue my activities in the field of archiving historical data and promoting culture and knowledge about Eastern Ukraine.